Animal Science Club excels in quiz bowl at NESA Competition

March 23, 2012 under CANR News

The University of Delaware Animal Science Club had a strong showing in the quiz bowl portion of the 2012 Northeast Student Affiliate (NESA) competition hosted by the University of Maine on Saturday, Feb. 18.

The quiz bowl took place in a bracket system, with the UD teams competing against 49 other teams from 10 universities, which this year included schools such as Penn State University, Rutgers University and the University of Maryland.

The eight students representing UD were split up into two teams of four, UD teams A and B. Team B placed 10th overall, earning itself a blue ribbon handed out at the competition’s awards banquet.

Laura Nemec, laboratory coordinator in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences and the club adviser who went with the group to the competition, said that the teams from UD “were a great mix of freshman through seniors and many had little to no experience with NESA previously.”

Explaining that UD team B missed out on advancing in the quiz bowl by only one point, Nemec said that the Animal Science Club members “did a fantastic job this year and are already looking for more new members and practicing questions for next year at Rutgers. I could not be more proud of the NESA teams and Animal Science Club.”

The rounds were made up of 20 questions each, with the teams getting buzzers to ring in with the correct answers. Questions consisted of general agricultural questions, but also involved some bio-anatomy, biology and some trivia about the host school sprinkled into the competition, as well.

To prepare for the quiz bowl, Jennifer West, a senior in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and president of the Animal Science Club, explained that the students used questions from the previous year’s competition and began to study them over Winter Session. The questions also helped pass the time as they prepped on their 11-hour car ride to Maine. Another way that they prepared was having UD professors come in and “speak with us and give kind of quick mini-lectures about what they teach.”

These lectures covered topics such as anatomy, genetics and nutrition. Faculty who spoke to the club included Carissa Wickens, assistant professor of animal and food sciences, Robert Dyer, associate professor of animal and food sciences, Carl Schmidt, associate professor of animal and food sciences, and Tanya Gressley, assistant professor of animal and food sciences.

Quiz bowl was only a portion of the NESA competition, which also included a livestock judging competition and a paper presentation.

Ariana Shakory, a sophomore in CANR, explained that the club had help in preparing for the livestock judging portion of the competition. Club members visited the University of Delaware dairy farm and learned and practiced dairy cattle judging with Richard Morris, dairy manager at the UD farm, which Shakory called “a good experience and good practice.”

For the paper presentations, each team selected one team member to give a presentation. The two members from UD were West and Jessica Applebaum, a junior in CANR. West’s paper focused on “Antibiotic Resistance and the Transmission from Livestock to Human Consumption,” while Applebaum’s dealt with “Mastitis in Dairy Cattle,” an inflammation of the udders.

While the team is already looking forward to next year’s event at Rutgers, they also have their eye on eventually hosting the event at UD because, as West explained, “with the shorter travel distance it would cost less and we could take more than two teams. We would really love to bring NESA back to UD — it would be really fun to do all the behind the scenes planning.”

According to Sara Hobson, a CANR senior and vice president of the Animal Science Club who chaired this year’s NESA planning committee, the last time UD hosted the event was 1996.

About the Animal Science Club

For anyone interested in joining the Animal Science Club, it meets every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Room 107 of Sharp Laboratory.  While the majority in the club are Animal Science majors, that is not a pre-requisite to join as the club accepts students from all majors.

The club prides itself on providing a great opportunity for hands-on experience and involvement in the community. The club members volunteer at local farms and animal shelters, and they regularly have guest speakers from places like Carousel Farms come in to talk with the group about a variety of experiences.

Applebaum explained that she got involved with the club because, “I really want to go to vet school and I feel like the hands on experience would really help me and they bring in speakers from different places, like vet schools and animal organizations, and you also get to meet a lot of people on campus.”

The club’s advisers are Laura Nemec and Lesa Griffiths, professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences.

For more information on the Animal Science Club, visit their website or e-mail Jennifer West or Nina Lee, junior in CANR and secretary of the Animal Science Club.

Article by Adam Thomas


UD Equine Seminar Series to be featured at Delaware Horse Expo

February 21, 2012 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Chick’s Discount Saddlery is hosting the 8th annual Delaware Horse Expo Saturday, March 17 and Sunday, March 18 at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington, DE. This two-day event will feature clinics, demonstrations, educational seminars, and commercial vendors.

This year will also include the University of Delaware Equine Seminar Series, sponsored by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension and the Delaware Equine Council.

The seminar will feature presentations on equine nutrition and health, selection of horses and costs associated with horse ownership, spring pasture management strategies, breeding management, the human-horse interaction, and equine trails.

The full list of speakers is below, with the topic of their presentations in bold.

Saturday, March 17

  • 10:30 a.m. Dr. Carissa Wickens, Assistant Professor and Equine Extension Specialist, University of Delaware. The Economics of Horse Ownership.
  • 11:30 a.m. Laura Florence, AFA Certified Farrier, Holistic Hoof Care. Hoof Care and Hoof Health.
  • 12:30 p.m. Peggy Koster, and Mary Everhart, Delaware Equine Council. Trails.
  • 1:30 p.m. Alex Brown – Author, Barbaro and His Legacy. The Horse and Human Connection and Inspiration of Barbaro.
  • 2:30 p.m. Dr. Tamara Dobbie, DVM, Diplomate ACT – Hoffman Center for Large Animal Reproduction, New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania. Managing the Pregnant Mare and Newborn Foal.
  • 3:30 p.m. Dr. Martin Adams – Nutritionist and Feeds Manager with Southern States. Basic Equine Nutrition.

Sunday, March 18

  • 10:30 a.m. Dr. Ashley Boyle, DVM, Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Studies – New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania. Equine Vaccination and Disease Prevention.
  • 11:30 a.m. Dr. Tamara Dobbie, DVM, Diplomate ACT – Hoffman Center for Large Animal Reproduction, New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania. Getting Your Mare and Stallion Ready for the Breeding Season.
  • 12:30 p.m. Dr. Martin Adams – Nutritionist and Feeds Manager with Southern States. Nutrition for Common Equine Health Issues.
  • 1:30 p.m. Dr. Richard Taylor, Agronomy Specialist, University of Delaware. Managing Springtime Pastures.
  • 2:30 p.m. Dr. Carissa Wickens, Assistant Professor and Equine Extension Specialist, University of Delaware. Selection of Horses.

For more information, visit the website


Wickens weighs in on ‘War Horse’

January 3, 2012 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

On the heels of the successful holiday film, War Horse, Carissa Wickens, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension equine specialist and assistant professor of animal science, was recently interviewed by National Geographic to get more information about the range of equine emotions portrayed in the movie. In the interview, Wickens touches on horses and their ability to remember humans, how horses react to fear, and how horses can form strong social bonds with other horses. To read the whole interview, conducted by Amanda Fiegl, visit the National Geographic website.


‘Equine Pasture Walk’ scheduled at Carousel Park

August 2, 2011 under CANR News

The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Equine Program and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will hold an “Equine Pasture Walk” from 6-8 p.m., Monday, Aug. 22, at Carousel Park, 3700 Limestone Road.

Participants are invited to learn how to identify various types of forage, such as grasses and legumes, and see a demonstration on how to assess quality hay. Experts from UD and NRCS will be on hand to answer any questions.

Registration by Monday, Aug. 15, is required.

The event is free and anyone interested in attending is welcome. The event will occur rain or shine and attendees are asked to bring a folding chair.

To register, request more information, or for those requiring special needs assistance, call 302-831-1340.


Cooperative Extension Equine Program launches educational blog

July 25, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Carissa Wickens, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension equine specialist and assistant professor of animal science, has developed an online educational resource for the equine community in Delaware and surrounding areas.

The UD Cooperative Extension Equine Blog was created to provide equine owners and the equine industry with up-to-date science-based information, and it offers valuable resources pertaining to horse care, management, health and the enjoyment of equine.

The blog aims to enhance opportunities to learn by connecting equine owners and enthusiasts with experts in the fields of equine and agricultural science, Wickens said.

The blog will include information on topics such as forage and pasture management, equine nutrition, equine behavior, equine health, upcoming events and educational programs. To provide the reader with a breadth of equine knowledge, links to additional equine-focused sites and resources are provided.

For questions not addressed in the posts, fact sheets or links included within the site, a recently added “Ask the Expert” section is available for further inquiries.

Wickens will continue to develop and improve the blog site in collaboration with colleagues Richard Taylor, Cooperative Extension agronomy specialist, and Susan Garey, extension agent, animal science, along with support from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications.


Cooperative Extension Equine Program conducts needs assessment survey

December 15, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

The University of Delaware’s Cooperative Extension Equine Program is conducting a statewide “Equine Needs Assessment Survey” with the purpose of identifying the educational needs of the local equine community.

Carissa Wickens, Cooperative Extension equine specialist and assistant professor of animal science, says, “Participants in the Delaware Equine Educational Needs Assessment Survey will be asked to identify topics with which they need assistance and/or would like to learn more about.

“Additional questions will focus on the types of program formats and resources in which the equine community is most interested. Participants will also be asked to report on management practices currently implemented on their farms/with their horses.”

The UD Cooperative Extension faculty and staff will use the gathered information to “facilitate the development of effective, science-based, equine education programs and resources aimed at improving the management and enjoyment of equine,” Wickens says.

Participation in the survey will be voluntary and anonymous.

For more information on the Equine Program or for an on-line version of the survey, visit the UD Cooperative Extension equine blog.

This article can also be viewed online on UDaily.


August 24: Equine Pasture Walk at UD

July 23, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Horse enthusiasts are invited to attend an “Equine Pasture Walk” on August 24th from 6 to 8 p.m. on the University of Delaware’s Webb Farm. 

Learn about trees and plants that are toxic to horses and weed management options. See a demonstration on how to assess vegetative cover in your pastures and learn what horse owners can do in the fall to prepare for spring. Experts will be on hand from the University of Delaware and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to answer your questions!

NM (.5), Pesticide (1), and CCA (1.5) credits will be available!

This meeting is free and everyone interested in attending is welcome. Please bring with you a folding chair. The event will occur rain or shine. To register or request more information, or if you require special needs assistance for this meeting, please call our office in advance at (302) 831-1340. Call to register by August 17th!


Cooperative Extension Announces 2010 Extension Scholars

May 10, 2010 under CANR News

University of Delaware Cooperative Extension recently announced its 2010 Extension Scholars. This innovative program, open to rising UD juniors, seniors and graduate students, offers a 10-week internship with Cooperative Extension during the summer months. The Scholars began their work experience in early June.

The Scholars are: Stephanie Fraze of Newark, DE; Alexandra Barnard of Ellicott City, Md., Emily Johnson of Bridgeville, Del.; Marissa Gilinksy of Brick, N.J., and James Vari of Bear, Del.   

The Scholars are engaged in projects that relate to their career interests. In the case of undergraduate Stephanie Fraze that means working with Carissa Wickens, a UD assistant professor of animal science, on equine education programs for youth and adults. For graduate student Marissa Gilinsky, it’s the opportunity to collaborate with Sue Snider, Cooperative Extension specialist for food and nutrition, on nutrition programs at summer camps statewide.

Jan Seitz, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and director of UD Cooperative Extension, created the Extension Scholar program in 2004 to give UD students an opportunity to become fully engaged in service learning, which has long been a hallmark of the Cooperative Extension Service.

“The work that Extension Scholars carry out each summer is integrated into their academic curriculum; meet the needs of local communities; provide structured time for reflection; and help foster civic responsibility,” says Seitz. “This year, our pool of applicants for the Scholar program was the largest ever. The 2010 Scholars are an impressive group and I am eager to see all that they accomplish this summer.”

Extension Scholars receive a stipend of $3,000 and, if needed, an allowance of $500 for job-related travel and/or housing. The program is funded by Cooperative Extension and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, as well as other sources, including a generous contribution from Chet and Sally Dickerson. To receive information about the 2011 Extension Scholar program, contact Alice Moore at


UD Extension Equine Program Expands Under Carissa Wickens

April 19, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Since joining the faculty of the University of Delaware in July 2009, Carissa Wickens hasn’t let the grass grow under her feet. In her dual appointment as Cooperative Extension equine specialist and assistant professor of animal science, Wickens has been expanding the UD herd, developing new undergraduate courses, implementing adult and youth education programs, and meeting with members of Delaware’s equine industry.

About the only thing Wickens hasn’t done these past eight months is to ride horses as much as she would have liked. “I keep a riding helmet in my office closet but there hasn’t been enough time during the week to get on a horse,” says Wickens. “There’s just too much going on.”

Not that she’s complaining. Wickens says that her job is a perfect fit for her interests and strengths. “I was excited to join UD because of the ability to become involved in hands-on teaching opportunities, not only with undergrads but also with youth and adults through my Extension appointment,” says Wickens. “I know what a valuable resource Extension can be for horse owners and want to assist Delawareans with their equine concerns.”               

Wickens has embraced her outreach role from her first few weeks on the job, which coincided with the state 4-H Horse Show at the Delaware State Fair. Accompanied by Susan Truehart Garey, Cooperative Extension’s livestock agent, Wickens strolled the Fair’s stalls, show rings and exercise tracks, eager to connect with horse owners and enthusiasts. 

She is currently working with the state Department of Agriculture to develop an equine educational needs assessment survey that will be conducted this summer. “I want to see what types of programs and educational resources our constituents are most interested in and learn more about the specific issues and topics they need help with,” says Wickens. “The equine industry is very important to the state and I want to offer all possible support.”    

Delaware’s equine industry, which includes race tracks, equine show and competition facilities, and breeding, training and boarding operations, is strong and continues to grow, notes Wickens. Delaware saw more than $279 million in expenditures for equine-related purposes in 2003, the most recent data available.  There are approximately 13,000 horses in the state; the majority used by recreational riders and 41 percent in racing.  

Wickens has been accepted to be a faculty advisor to the UD Extension Scholar Program and will have an Extension Scholar in place this summer to help her further develop Extension’s equine program. 

And Wickens has been just as busy in her role as assistant professor of animal science. She led in the purchase of four new horses, a quarter horse and three Arabians, to complement the three quarter horses and three Haflingers already part of UD’s herd.

She also has assisted with recent improvements to the equine teaching facilities on campus.  

This spring she is teaching Introduction to Equine Science. In the fall, she’ll be teaching Equine Management, a new capstone course that she’ll develop this summer.

“I’ve really been enjoying the Intro Equine Science course,” says Wickens. “I have a wonderful group of 18 students, including a local resident who owns race horses and wants to learn more about equine science.”    

“I served on the search committee for Carissa’s current position,” says Jan Seitz, associate dean and director of UD Cooperative Extension. “I was impressed with Carissa at our initial meeting and even more so now that I have seen her at work. I felt sure she would hit the ground running but I had no idea how fast she would run.”  

Even though she isn’t riding as much as she would like, Wickens is at UD’s Equine Barn almost every day, whether to check in with a farrier who’s trimming a horse or connect with farm superintendent Scott Hopkins.

Wickens comes to UD from Michigan State University, where she received her Ph.D in animal behavior and welfare in 2009. The focus of her doctoral research was stereotypic behavior in horses, with an emphasis on crib-biting, and how to manage such behaviors. She resides in North East, Md., with her husband, Edward, who is a research assistant for UD’s dairy operation, and their three-year-old daughter, Eileen.   

Wickens started riding horses at the age of eight but, thus far, her daughter shows more interest in another farm animal. “Eileen loves seeing the dairy cows when she comes to visit the UD Farm,” says Wickens. “But she is becoming increasingly interested in the horses.”

Fortunately for Delaware’s equine industry, horses are very much on the mind of Carissa Wickens, as she works to improve Extension’s equine program.


Register now for the 2010 Ag Social on March 6

February 15, 2010 under CANR News, Events

The Ag Alumni Association and the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources invite you to attend the 2010 Ag Social on March 6, 2010. Even if you live too far away to attend, we wanted you to know that you are certainly invited!

Hors d’oeuvres and drinks with cash bar begin at 6:00 p.m. with a buffet dinner to follow at 7:00 p.m.

The evening will include a chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones, and presentation of the 2010 Worrilow Award and the Donald F. Crossan Scholarship Awards. A silent auction will be held to benefit these student scholarships.

Arrive at 4:00 p.m. for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Dover Downs harness racing operation led by faculty member Carissa Wickens, UD’s Equine Extension Specialist. Carissa’s research focuses on horse behavior and welfare with emphasis on human-animal interactions. Also she is a specialist in feeding strategies and protein nutrition in horses.

Click here for more information or to register. 

Spend the night at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino for a reduced rate of $175 + taxes/fees. Mention “GUDAG” when making your reservation. Reserve by calling 866-473-7378 before February 23.

Questions? Contact Maria Pautler ’85 at or 302-831-0847.

This event is sponsored by the UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Ag Alumni Association.